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Running Your Dermatology Practice During COVID-19

Step 3: Reorganize your practice to minimize patient contact and increase sterilization


  1. Put up signs to notify patients of COVID-related precautions and add markings where necessary to maintain appropriate social distance (e.g. tape marking in front of reception for patients to maintain distance from staff and each other). Use the Academy’s sign template (Word download).

  2. Reduce the number of chairs in waiting rooms and appropriately space them apart.

  3. Remove magazines and other reading materials from patient care areas.

  4. If pens are required for patients to fill out forms, clean them between each patient (use one penholder for clean pens and another for used pens).

  5. Place additional hand sanitizers and wipes in the waiting room for patients as well as in high-traffic areas for staff.

  6. Have hand sanitizer and/or a place to wash hands with soap and water in each exam room.

  7. Consider keeping all doors open on the patient path from the entrance through the office to the exit, to minimize the need to touch surfaces.

  8. Determine if physical barriers would be helpful to protect staff from patients exposed to COVID-19. For example, is there a sneeze guard that could be installed to limit contact between front desk staff and patients?

  9. Limit visitors to essential vendors and suppliers. Consider having virtual meetings whenever possible, such as with pharmaceutical reps.

  10. For Mohs surgery, have the patient stay in their assigned room through all stages and repair. They should only leave the room for restroom breaks. Snacks can be brought to the patient in the room as needed.

  11. COVID-19 transmission has not been documented through blood or tissue fluid. Therefore, for ablative laser procedures, no change is needed in current practice. Specifically, continue wearing the same type of personally protective equipment (PPE) as before the COVID-19 pandemic and using smoke evacuators to protect the operator and assistants from bloodborne and tissue pathogens and carcinogens in the laser plume. Similarly, for dermabrasion, masks and face shields are a reasonable measure to protect the operator and assistants from bloodborne pathogens.

  12. Implement digital tools to assist your practice in maximizing social distancing where appropriate:

    1. Connections must be compliant with HIPAA and use web browsers with encrypted communications, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.

    2. If you have an electronic health record (EHR), contact your vendor to determine if there are any applications you can install to reduce in-person contact. Examples include patient portals, online bill pay, electronic orders for staff, electronic prescriptions, and electronic lab orders.

    3. Visit the Academy’s Health IT resource center for specific guidance on digital tools to adapt in your practice during this time.

    4. Continue using teledermatology for appropriate patients. It is important to consider that relaxed regulations may revert to pre-national health emergency rules after the emergency is over.

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All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology

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